Struggling Young Players Chicago Bulls Can Sign on the Cheap
The Chicago Bulls are in a tough spot heading into next season.
They have a ton of money committed to a largely veteran roster, yet they have a solid amount of holes in their lineup.
Many of the players that stepped up for them this year (Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli) are free agents that will command more money than the Bulls will want to spend.
So therefore, it will be essential for the Bulls' scouting department to target young players that may have lost a bit of their shine.
They should learn from their own example and target players like Robinson. The fiery young point guard had been knocked around a bit and the Bulls bought low. As a result, a low risk turned into a high reward.
Here are five such players that the Bulls should target.
Darius Morris, PG
Darius Morris probably wishes he could have a mulligan.
Morris was an impressive college point guard at the University of Michigan who helped lead the Wolverines to a nice season as a sophomore.
Morris called to mind Andre Miller, a somewhat bigger scoring point guard that had a nice mid-range game and could create his own shot.
However, his game wasn't necessarily complete. He lacks an outside shot and is still developing as a point guard.
Instead of honing his skills, he jumped for the pros and was a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Morris is a solid backup point guard. He is quick, is a good passer and has the size and length to become a good defender.
The Bulls need to develop a young backup point guard that can score. Robinson is certainly now out of their price range and the Bulls need to grab a replacement that won't break the bank.
D.J. Augustin, PG
D.J. Augustin has had a roller-coaster career in the NBA.
He was originally the point guard of the future in Charlotte, but the Bobcats decided to draft Kemba Walker, which made Augustin expendable.
Add to that the fact that Augustin butted heads with former head coach Larry Brown, and this made their decision to move on without him much easier.
Augustin has somewhat boosted his value with a nice performance thus far in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the concerns surrounding him are still valid.
He is small (barely 6'0") and though he is a solid passer, he doesn't always exhibit strong point-guard instincts.
That being said, he can get his shot off against much larger defenders, he is lightning-quick and he will likely come very cheap on the free agent market.
Xavier Henry, SG
When Xavier Henry was drafted out of Kansas, he was viewed as the shooting guard of the future for the New Orleans Hornets.
The problem was that he couldn't shoot.
Henry is a big guard that is athletic and plays intelligently.
He has the size to give opposing guards problems on the perimeter and he can rebound in traffic.
He is starting to develop as a slasher, but his outside shot remains erratic.
That being said, Chicago could use more wings with solid size and strength. The Bulls don't necessarily need these wings to shoot the lights out. And who knows, maybe they can develop this in him.
Wesley Johnson, G/F
Wesley Johnson was one of the best college basketball players in the nation coming out of Syracuse.
He could shoot, rebound and score in a variety of ways.
This made him a high lottery pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sadly, Johnson never found his way in Minnesota and eventually was shipped out of town.
Johnson is a solid athlete with good size and basketball instincts. But he is a scoring guard that has been able to score consistently at this level.
His shot needs work, he is still developing as a defender and he isn't a great passer.
His scoring mentality may be bruised, but I believe it isn't broken. He still has the talent that made him a lottery pick and he could rewrite his story in Chicago.
DeJuan Blair, F/C
DeJuan Blair was another one of the San Antonio Spurs' success stories late in the draft.
He immediately came in and became a contributor on a veteran team.
He has excellent strength, can rebound and is a good interior defender.
But injuries and competition from more impressive players has pushed Blair out of the picture in San Antonio.
That being said, he could have some real value for a team like the Bulls. He is tough and could be a nice change-of-pace replacement for Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah off the bench.
He also should come very cheap but be a high-reward guy.